What are your favorite meat birds??

Stephanie8806

Songster
Feb 18, 2019
495
624
191
Central Washington State
Depends if you like dark or white meat.
The colored broilers have more dark than white meat.
The various CX are more white than dark meat.
All above are hybrids and don't breed true. ... and the CX usually don't survive long enough. I kept a CX pullet and bred her to a random mix heritage roo. Most of my flock are several generations out of her offspring.
Standard Cornish are a slowwww growing large breasted option. But it's hard to find good ones
Freedom ranger Hatchery have some New Hampshire bred for meat.

Thank you! We don’t really care about dark vs light meat. Up until this point, we either eat whatever we get from the store, or eat game birds that we hunt. Store meat is mostly white, nothing special, game birds are mostly dark meat.
 

U_Stormcrow

Free Ranging
Jun 7, 2020
5,185
15,609
606
North FL Panhandle Region / Wiregrass
Okay. Would you be opposed to Hoover's birds? I can try and weigh my GLB Wyandotte if you're interested. She's looking mice sized
Nope. If I need birds, and can't get anything else, I know I can work with Hoover's stock. Just glad I don't have to, for the foreseeable future. For now, I'm maintaining a closed flock, likely until the spring of 2023.
 

Stephanie8806

Songster
Feb 18, 2019
495
624
191
Central Washington State
I would say as far as meat yield, you can't beat Cornish cross. But I am not a fan of them as a breed in general. Due to their rapid weight gain, they're prone to heart attacks, leg issues, heat stroke, etc. But with an 8-week growing time, they beat out our freedom rangers who we had to grow out for 12 weeks. I guess it depends what your priorities are. Another plus for the Cornish across is that they have less feathers and they look like the traditional chicken you would buy in the store, not darker like the freedom rangers.
We have butchered several mixed breed heritage birds, cockerels, that our neighbors didn't want. All of them were small enough that I feel it wasn't worth the effort, now that we've seen what an actual meat breed produces.

Ive heard mixed reviews about the CornishX. Thanks for your experience!

We are not too horribly concerned with size. As long as the breed we choose in general gets larger than a wild grouse, then it will feel worth the time, I think.
 

JacinLarkwell

Crossing the Road
Mar 19, 2020
17,134
41,068
951
South-Eastern Montana
Ive heard mixed reviews about the CornishX. Thanks for your experience!

We are not too horribly concerned with size. As long as the breed we choose in general gets larger than a wild grouse, then it will feel worth the time, I think.
How big do those get? I don't bird hunt and have no clue if it's half a pound or 8 pounds
 

Stephanie8806

Songster
Feb 18, 2019
495
624
191
Central Washington State
My favorite meat bird is the one I hatched, raised, butchered, aged, and prepared for table.

They could be better, thus, I have a culling project. Started with hatchery quality birds - whatever I could get from the farm store at the start of the Pandemic last year. Selectively butchering my way towards an improved mutt, eventually to be christened a "clay ranger".

Thats so interesting! And completely makes sense!

We will still be butchering from our egg laying flock each year, and our goal is to maintain about 1/2-3/4 of that flock as home mixed breeds. So it will be interesting to see what future years of “barnyard mixes” produces!

As for our meat birds, we’d generally like to just raise and butcher them in a single season and not breed. Buy chicks in Spring, raise, butcher in summer-Fall. Our winters are cold and harsh, and I want our meat bird enclosure to stay vacant during that time. I really only want to continue expending the energy of maintaining/caring for one group in that time, as we are off-grid and don’t have a general large barn/structure.
 

U_Stormcrow

Free Ranging
Jun 7, 2020
5,185
15,609
606
North FL Panhandle Region / Wiregrass
Thats so interesting! And completely makes sense!

We will still be butchering from our egg laying flock each year, and our goal is to maintain about 1/2-3/4 of that flock as home mixed breeds. So it will be interesting to see what future years of “barnyard mixes” produces!

As for our meat birds, we’d generally like to just raise and butcher them in a single season and not breed. Buy chicks in Spring, raise, butcher in summer-Fall. Our winters are cold and harsh, and I want our meat bird enclosure to stay vacant during that time. I really only want to continue expending the energy of maintaining/caring for one group in that time, as we are off-grid and don’t have a general large barn/structure.
I'm fortunate to not have a winter, and the single flock idea is why I don't have meaties (that, and a lack of freezer space). If you want to follow along on my journey to produce a regionally useful actual dual purpose bird from what I bought at the farm store, that thread is here.
 

Stephanie8806

Songster
Feb 18, 2019
495
624
191
Central Washington State
How big do those get? I don't bird hunt and have no clue if it's half a pound or 8 pounds

Not large. The biggest ones we’ve harvested are probably in the range of a white leghorn. Quite Lean, all the meat is pretty dark. But we also hunt chukar and California quail, and both of those are much smaller as well. So really, even our various breeds of layers/dual purpose will all be larger
 

Stephanie8806

Songster
Feb 18, 2019
495
624
191
Central Washington State
I'm fortunate to not have a winter, and the single flock idea is why I don't have meaties (that, and a lack of freezer space). If you want to follow along on my journey to produce a regionally useful actual dual purpose bird from what I bought at the farm store, that thread is here.

I will check that thread out!
Im currently unsure about the energy I want to put into breeding. Letting my layers/dual purpose just do their thing is about where I’m at for now. We just got roosters this year, so this coming spring will be our first potential home breeds! I will be trying to hatch some both under a broody hen as well as in our incubator.

But down the road, when our human kids leave the nest and we downsize our house(but upscale our “farm” 😂), I may want to have more control over my flock! I think it would be a fun “retirement” project
 

JacinLarkwell

Crossing the Road
Mar 19, 2020
17,134
41,068
951
South-Eastern Montana
I want our meat bird enclosure to stay vacant during that time. I really only want to continue expending the energy of maintaining/caring for one group in that time, as we are off-grid and don’t have a general large barn/structure.
Cornish X might be best for you then, since they won't be lasting most than 2-3 months.

You could also just keep larger birds in the layer flock and separate birds as growouts for the meat pen. Then you know they're eating all they want for the best growth. That's kinda what I do sometimes
 

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